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Practice Recap: 9/3

Posted Sep 3, 2014

Myles Simmons has the latest on the Rams first regular season practice leading up to the season opener on Sunday against the Minnesota Vikings.

The Rams got back to business on Wednesday, practicing for the season-opening matchup against the Vikings on September 7. Here’s what you need to know from the afternoon session.

STARTING THE SEASON

With the calendar finally flipping from August to September, everyone at Rams Park is excited to begin the regular season. And plenty of Rams expressed that sentiment after practice on Wednesday.

“I’m very excited,” defensive tackle Kendall Langford said. “We’re playing for real. There’s no more preseason, no more practice. We’re playing and it counts for something.”

While the four exhibition contests are used for evaluation and getting re-acquainted with game speed, safety T.J. McDonald said that they’re important to gauge where a team stands.

“These preseason games have been a measuring stick about where we’re at as a team, what we need to work on,” McDonald said. “But everybody’s thirsty for this first game, for this first piece of action.”

While everyone wants to play games that count, one element that will surely be different this week against the Vikings is the defensive schemes. As head coach Jeff Fisher said throughout the preseason, there was not much game planning for any of those contests. And now, it’s finally time to remove the cover off of coordinator Gregg Williams’ aggressive defense.

McDonald said that even though the unit did not show much of it on the field the past few weeks, the new-look D is ready to go.

“We’ve been practicing it from Day 1,” McDonald said. “We haven’t really released it on game day, but we know what we’ve got in and things that we want to do. So it all comes down to execution.”

The safety added that young guys like Lamarcus Joyner and E.J. Gaines are coming along well in order to solidify the secondary.

“I feel like we’re getting a lot more comfortable. Communication is improving each week,” McDonald said. “We’re all jelling as a defense.”

And with arguably the league’s best running back on tap for Week 1, there’s no better time for that unit to come together in order to create a winning product.

LEFTOVERS

…The 2014 season represents Jeff Fisher’s 20th as a head coach in the NFL. And while that’s a significant amount of time, Fisher said on Wednesday that he feels the same for opening day.

“I have the same emotions and the same enthusiasm. I have to say that I feel a little more confident because I have a little bit more experience at it right now,” Fisher said. “But opening weekend is special. And it’s even better to open at home against a very good opponent.”

…Vikings running back Adrian Peterson told assembled St. Louis media on a conference call Wednesday morning that he’s excited to play against the Rams defense. The All-Pro back singled out Robert Quinn as one of the squad’s most impressive players.

“I love playing against guys who are aggressive and know how to play defense,” Peterson said. “I grew up watching Pittsburgh and the Cowboys -- those guys had good defenses. Guys who would come in and hit you, and run to the ball. That’s what I’m used to. So anytime I play a team like that, I’m even more excited and ramped up to play against them.”

We’ll have more on the how the Rams matchup with the Vikings later in the week.

…Newly acquired quarterback Case Keenum spoke to the media for the first time after practice, remarking about how he’ll be playing football somewhere other than Texas for the first time in a long time.

“It hasn’t really set in yet,” Keenum said, adding that the weather at practice is significantly cooler. “But I’m excited to be in a new place, be outside of Texas, get out of my comfort zone and grow a little bit.”

The signal-caller grew up in the Lone Star State, was a record-setting quarterback at Houston, and spent the previous two seasons and 2014 preseason with the Texans.

…Fisher said that he’d heard waived defensive end Michael Sam had landed on Dallas’ practice squad, and that he was happy for the rookie.

“I think that’s a great decision by the Cowboys,” Fisher said. “Of course, based on what I’ve seen and heard, they’ve got some issues on the defensive line, they’ve got injuries. So you hope Mike gets a chance. Maybe he can help them.”

…Finally, if you haven’t gotten your tickets to the home opener yet, what are you waiting for? Don’t be left out. Get your tickers right here, right now.

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